Foreword, Heidi Krupp

From Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition


These days, we are all storytellers. Everyone can have a platform and many of us do now that social media gives everyone a voice. Sharing our news instantly is the norm on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs. Not only do we know when our friends are having a baby — we can watch them give birth and see the newborn’s photo tweeted one minute after birth. We know what friends, family, and celebrities are having for dinner, when they get a new job, when they are going to rehab... we expect everything to be shared.

What used to be personal is public now — sometimes intentionally, sometimes not; we watch it on reality TV, read it in rambling blog posts, and catch it through the ultimate CliffsNotes: 140 characters or less on Twitter. This is not just how we get our news or gossip but how we connect to each other and try to understand the world around us. But for all this connectivity, it is easy to lose ourselves.

Storytelling has always been a great way to pass on advice and wisdom, but it needs to be organized and thoughtful... and deliver a usable message. And that’s where Chicken Soup for the Soul comes in, as a useful, friendly, wise friend, sharing stories with you that will make a difference to you and yours.

When Chicken Soup for the Soul was published 20 years ago, the self-help field was just beginning to become popular. Back then, most authors and speakers told their own stories in the third person, shared other people’s stories, or used metaphors and allegories to explain their system for helping you see where and how you could improve your life. The personal? That was acceptable behind closed doors in the therapist’s office. Yes, there were support groups for everything from weight loss to addiction to grief counseling, but sharing yourself on the page — a page that could be seen and shared in a space beyond the people speaking inside the four walls of a room? Not so much.

Chicken Soup for the Soul changed all that. It gave us permission to be more open and accepting of ourselves through first-person stories and lessons. It changed the way self-help books were perceived and it was way ahead of its time in publishing. As a result, people today, especially the thought leaders we turn to for inspiration, salvation, and insight to ourselves, are willing to be vulnerable in the most public of places and ways. They find it empowering, and they are willing to share their stories to empower the people listening to them. And we’ve become open to all of it — and better for it. I know I have. I grew up on Chicken Soup for the Soul. I first read it when I was 26 and a publicity assistant and associate producer at ABC News 20/20 working with and for Barbara Walters. I loved my job but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was thinking about becoming a publicist and starting my own business, and I was at a crossroads. I was looking for help and direction to understand what I was feeling, and I needed to figure out myself, so I turned to books and Chicken Soup for the Soul was the one that resonated with me.

I remember every single story in that first book in the series and have quoted or cited each of them at one time in my life. When I read the Tony Robbins story about Thanksgiving, I even set out on a mission to work with him. And ultimately I did and still do today, along with dozens of other amazing thought leaders in the 21st century who delight and inspire me every day.

Like most people, I have a constant desire to improve my life, and I want — no, I need — to hear those stories and then look at myself and ask, “How can I become better by understanding this?” That is how Chicken Soup for the Soul motivated me to do more to change the world and make it a happier and better place, as well as share my own stories about everything from business difficulties to the trouble I had having my baby to the crazy wonderful life I have in the media and publishing. I do it for myself, and I do it to help others.

When Amy Newmark, who is Chicken Soup for the Soul’s publisher, coauthor, and editor-in-chief, asked me to help her with this revision of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul for the book’s 20th anniversary, I was thrilled. Now I get to pay it forward, in my own way, so that the next 26-year-old starting out can have a little help finding her way too.

I am honored to be writing this foreword for the 20th Anniversary Edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and also to have personally helped select the 20 bonus stories you will find in this volume — the 20 stories that we added to all my old favorites from the original bestseller. You’ll find new stories from many of my clients and friends, the best of the best in the self-help field, and I’m confident these 21st century thought leaders’ stories will inspire you and make Chicken Soup for the Soul relevant, useful, and absolutely delightful for another 20 years!

I am so pleased that I can introduce you to these people and their stories. I truly love them all. Some are familiar names that need no introduction as they have been helping people improve their lives for years: Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, and Dr. Oz (all of whom offer up original stories for this book), and don Miguel Ruiz, who wrote the international bestseller The Four Agreements.

But others will be new voices, ones that I think will become old friends for you over the coming years: Darren Hardy, the publisher of SUCCESS magazine, who has created his own multimillion dollar business and mentored others trying to do the same; Eric Handler, who is the publisher and co-founder of the “Positively Positive” blog and inspires millions every day to live more fully; Gabrielle Bernstein, whose inspirational story of overcoming her addiction has led to a career as a bestselling author and advocate for women’s causes; health advocate and author Kris Carr, who is best known for her dazzling Crazy Sexy Cancer book series; Mastin Kipp, whose “The Daily Love” website, e-mails, and tweets are soulful inspiration for a new generation; and the incredible voice behind the simple wisdom of “Tiny Buddha,” Lori Deschene.

We also have the author and minister Reverend Michael Beckwith, who founded the Agape International Spiritual Center in California, a New Thought church; the poet and celebrated author of four books, MK Asante, who CNN calls “a master storyteller”; Nick Ortner, the author and CEO of The Tapping Solution, which is dedicated to stress-free living; Robert Holden whose UK-based work on positivity, spirituality, and happiness has been captured in several books as well as two BBC documentaries; and Tory Johnson, who helps millions through her books and her regular appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America. And of course, this new edition wouldn’t be complete without stories from the series’ creators, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, and from its publisher and creative leader, Amy Newmark.

Every one of these thought leaders knows what it means to let his or her guard down, get vulnerable, and share a personal story that will truly help our readers. They join the original contributors to Chicken Soup for the Soul in a book that we will want to keep with us, in our handbags and briefcases, on our nightstands, and now on our iPads, Nooks, and Kindles, ready for when we need it just like the original.

It’s interesting that the “chicken soup for the soul” title has worked all over the world, and in the dozens of countries where the book has been translated and has sold millions of copies, the title is usually translated directly. The concept of chicken soup as a healing force, for the “soul” as well as the body, appears to be universal. Chicken soup is more than a food — it’s what your mom feeds you when you’re sick, it’s what you eat when you need the ultimate comfort food, it’s recommended by doctors for the body and for the mind. It’s not really about chickens or soup — it’s about comfort and caring and knowing that someone is looking out for you.

That’s what Chicken Soup for the Soul is all about: sustenance through stories that are meant to elevate us and nurture us and give us the power to live some new stories of our own. It’s a recipe for enjoying life, making the most of yourself, and sharing your discoveries with the people you care about — even if you haven’t met them yet.

~Heidi Krupp

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